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Pandemic-Related Littering Research

Professor Mark Benfield is Asking the Public for Litter Images

— April 16, 2020 — Tech
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed many aspects of our daily lives, but one notable change is the presence of single-use plastic gloves and masks that are littering the streets of cities. To examine this global littering phenomenon, Professor Mark Benfield is conducting a study and asking the public to submit their photographs of discarded medical masks and gloves. The study will also include research from Benfield's colleagues in San Diego, Long Island, Shenzhen, and New Orleans.

“Obviously people view these items as being contaminated with the virus. They don’t want them in their cars nor their pockets,” wrote Benfield. He suggests that individuals know they shouldn't litter as the items in question are often left in semi-concealed areas. However, Benfield notes that in Shenzhen, the litter is drastically reduced, which he attributes to the dedicated PPE disposal bins found throughout the city.

Those interested in participating in the research can submit their photographs to covid19waste@gmail.com.


Image Credit: Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo
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